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HYDROSOL-3D — Result In Brief

Project ID: 245224
Funded under: FP7-JTI

Sun and water forhydrogen production

Hydrogen (H2) production can be a costly business in terms of resources, emissions and money. EU-funded scientists are working on sustainable and efficient H2 production using solar heat and water.
Sun and water forhydrogen production
In the EU-funded project HYDROSOL-3D a two-step thermochemical water-splitting cycle on a monolithic reactor exploiting heat from concentrated solar radiation is implemented for the renewable production of H2. Building on the successes of its predecessors (HYDROSOL and HYDROSOL-II), scientists provided a detailed design of a 1-megawatt (MWth) demonstration plant.

The team considered two scenarios for H2 production via solar thermochemical water-splitting. The first scenario was the adaptation of the technology to an existing solar-thermal facility, while the second involved the development of an entirely new solar-thermochemical plant. The technical work was complemented by a feasibility study of the scaled-up plant, as well as market analysis to determine realistic scenarios for market penetration.

During the three years of the project, scientists conducted extensive research into optimisation of materials used in the thermochemical production of H2. Porous structures consisting entirely of the redox material were manufactured and were active water splitters. In addition, they improved reactor design to reduce thermal losses and enable a homogeneous temperature distribution while maintaining structural modularity. A control algorithm was designed to control the solar reactors’ temperature by varying the number of heliostats.

Experimental campaigns were conducted at the HYDROSOL-II solar receiver-reactor for the validation of the control algorithm and the optimization of the operational strategy. A test campaign on new redox coated monoliths indicated long-term cyclic operation stability at high temperature solar irradiation. HYDROSOL-3D delivered the complete plant design, defining the control system, the sensors and process actuators.

The cost of H2 production from non-renewable sources is expected to rise with the increase in cost of fossil fuels and the possible introduction of stringent environmental taxes. In parallel, improvements in the field of solar technologies (e.g. heliostat cost, heliostat’s tracking system and solar field optimization), would make HYDROSOL technology more competitive with non-renewable carbon dioxide-producing H2 production routes.

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